Prime Minister of Ethiopia Addresses General Assembly

25 Sep 2017

22 September 2017. Check against delivery. 


Mr. President,

I would like to join other delegations in congratulating you on your election to preside over the work of the 72nd session of the General Assembly and I wish to assure you of the support and cooperation of my delegation in the discharge of your responsibilities throughout the course of this session. Let me also take this opportunity to express appreciation to your Predecessor who has effectively guided the work of the last session of the General Assembly.

We welcome the appointment of Mr. Antonio Guterres as the new Secretary-General of the United Nations and support his call for a surge in diplomacy for peace in addressing the many crisis situations that the world is facing today. Let me stress here we are behind the Secretary-General in the effort he is making at reforming the Organization in the three interrelated areas — development, peace and security and management.

Mr. President,

It is indeed a great pleasure and honor for Ethiopia to preside over the work of the Security Council during this important month when world leaders gather in New York for this session of the General Assembly to discuss issues of global peace, security and development. We would like to express our gratitude to all the delegations that participated at the High Level Open Debate of the Security Council on Wednesday, 20 September 2017, on the Reform of UN Peacekeeping Operations. As one of the leading troop contributing countries, Ethiopia attaches great importance to strengthening the role of United Nations peacekeeping to address challenges to international peace and security.

In this regard, we welcome the unanimous adoption of the draft resolution we tabled on Wednesday and we thank all delegations that have co-sponsored the resolution, reaffirming the central role of United Nations peacekeeping as one of the most effective tools available to the World Body in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security.

Mr. President,

That the world is facing unprecedented challenges to its peace and prosperity has been all too apparent for quite some time now. Geo-political tensions reminiscent of the cold war are increasing; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is posing real threats to global peace and security; terrorism and violent extremism continues to wreak havoc across different parts of the world; global income inequality is no longer a development challenge but also a security threat; climate change is not a fiction but real and we are witnessing its devastating consequences for humankind and the planet. Countries such as my own continue to face this horrendous challenge to their development.

No doubt, there are no quick and easy solutions to these global challenges, which are unprecedented in scale and magnitude. As the Secretary-General has rightly noted, these global problems certainly require global solutions. That is why commitment to multilateralism and adherence to principles that underpin it have never been as urgent as they are currently. This is what makes the United Nations and it’s convening power all the more indispensable in mobilizing the whole world towards the cardinal goal of collective security and prosperity.

Mr. President,

Only two years ago, three major peace and security reviews were conducted which provided valuable recommendations and which, if implemented, could help the United Nations to keep pace with the changing global security dynamics and effectively respond to new and emerging peace and security challenges in a comprehensive, systematic and coordinated manner. What came out clearly from the three major reviews is that the primacy of politics should be the hallmark of United Nations’ approach to the resolution of conflicts. Indeed, there is no way of resolving the many conflict and crisis situations around the world other than through a political means.

This holds true not only for the crisis in South Sudan closer to home but also to the conflicts that are raging in the Middle East including in Syria and Yemen as well as the dangerous situation in the Korean peninsula. Therefore, it is only by reaffirming our commitments to the letter and spirit of Chapter VI of the UN Charter on the pacific settlement of disputes that we can effectively respond to the global peace and security challenges that we face today.

However, this is obviously easier said than done. That is because without political will and commitment by conflicting parties to find a political solution through dialogue and negotiation, peace is bound to elude us. The common purpose and resolve of all external actors involved in the search for a political solution to conflict and crisis situations is also absolutely indispensable. What the current global security dynamics requires is a stronger and effective global-regional partnership in the service of conflict prevention and peace. What we have seen time and again is that in the absence of this partnership underpinned by the principle of complementarity and coherence, no meaningful progress can be achieved. The United Nations should be able to play a leading role in forging these kinds of partnerships and share the burden in accordance with the Charter.

Mr. President,

The interlinkages between peace, security and development has long been recognized and this is also the other key message that came out clearly from the three-major peace and security reviews. More peaceful and inclusive societies create an environment conducive to sustainable development; sustainable peace is both an enabler and an outcome of sustainable development. The year 2015 was indeed a seminal year in this regard. The commitment that we made in this hall to the transformative 2030 Agenda and to leave no one behind was the result of common conviction that our fates and our futures are linked and that poverty is a common challenge. The SDGs were further reinforced with the adoption of the Paris Climate Accord which entered into force last November strengthening the global response to the threats posed by climate change.

But today it is no longer the time to celebrate these achievements but to reflect where we are in terms of their implementation. Though the SDGs were endorsed by all with so much optimism, the current state of affairs is far from reassuring. The global situation since has not been conducive to ensure a reasonably effective implementation of the SDGs. That is a major disappointment for all those who have been hoping to see renewed global partnership in the spirit of the 2030 agenda.

We on our part have fully embraced and started to register encouraging initial results in implementing the 2030 Agenda. We have continued to invest in our people to improve their well-being. To achieve structural transformation and diversify our economy, the government is expanding the manufacturing sector and infrastructural facilities that have continued to attract increasing amount of domestic and foreign investment. To finance our ambitious national projects, we are mobilizing domestic resources while maximizing the positive impacts of foreign assistance.

By implementing integrated pro-poor policies, we have been reducing poverty, enhancing the quality of life, and we have sustained our rapid and inclusive economic growth. Hence, Ethiopia is projected to be the fastest growing economy in the world by 2017. This should, of course, not be a source of complacency, but an additional drive to redouble our determination and endeavors to accelerate the full implementation of our current national development, which integrates the SDGs. We would remain fully committed to realize SDGs, to respond to the legitimate development demands of our people and to address our multifaceted development challenges. And these are not easy and nor are our challenges uncomplicated, most particularly those related to natural phenomenon.

Mr. President,

We in Ethiopia like many other countries are dealing almost every day with the adverse impacts of climate change. Therefore, now is not the time to doubt the devastating impacts of climate change while millions of our fellow humans are losing their lives and their hard-won development achievements. This is high time to act —and act urgently and decisively— to combat the adverse impacts of climate change, particularly its disproportionate adverse effect on the most vulnerable countries, which — as it has been repeatedly stated—bear almost no responsibility in causing climate change.

It is not only poverty that is our major challenge, but also climate change. The current climate-induced drought is affecting millions of people. After successfully dealing the 2015 El Nino induced-drought, it is for the second consecutive year that Ethiopia is facing the adverse impact of climate change. That is why I said earlier climate change is real and poses a clear danger for humanity, undermining development gains. We are doing everything we could to mitigate its negative impacts, with the continued and much appreciated support of our bilateral and multilateral partners. While committed to address the current humanitarian emergency, we would also continue to implement our national strategy of building a green and resilient economy.

Mr. President,

Countries like Ethiopia that are fully committed to implement the Sustainable Development Agenda require an enabling international environment to succeed in their fight against poverty. Ending poverty, achieving prosperity for all and preserving our planet is attainable. It is known that the world has the resources and the capabilities to create a world free from poverty. Though uneven, we have made a start to implement SDGs. But time is of the essence, and acceleration is necessary to leave no one behind. This has enormous meaning for peace and security as well. Poverty and economies that fail to produce employment opportunities are not fertile ground for peace to grow and be nurtured.

I thank you.

VIDEO: PM Hailemariam Dessalegn Addresses the UN General Assembly, 72nd Session

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